Video Workstations for
After Effects

Understand the parameters that make an ideal After Effects workstation

What is After Effects?

After Effects, from Adobe, is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application used in the post-production process of film making, video games and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation.

What makes the best system for After Effects?

There is no one ideal system configuration for After Effects, as users will have different video resolutions to edit and make different use of the software. After Effects makes use of both CPU cores, higher clock speeds and GPUs for specific effects, ultimately depending on whether you are working with HD, 4K, 6K or 8K video content, and the complexity of functions your using. Functions such as dissolves, warp stabilisation, colour replacement and exporting will place more demand on CPU and GPU resources.

3XS Workstation

What CPU should I choose for After Effects?

As explained above, a system that will be used for a mixture of After Effects functions needs to strike a good balance between CPU and GPU(s). Like most digital content creation (DCC) applications After Effects performs best on a CPU with a high frequency and at least eight cores, although more cores can be beneficial in some processes. We recommend starting with an AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7, upgrading to Ryzen 9 or Core i9 if budget allows. If you’re also going to be generating higher resolution video content then an AMD Threadripper is a good choice as these have more PCIe lanes, enabling the system to support multiple GPUs and other devices such as capture cards and faster network interfaces.

What GPU(s) do I need for After Effects?

While After Effects does most of its calculations on the CPU, a fast GPU is crucial for a responsive experience with specific 3D effects and plugins, with more powerful models providing a more noticeable benefit when working with complex and high resolution video. We recommend the NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs as a good starting point in the NVIDIA range, adding in more GPUs if budget allows and your workloads scale well. If not, choose a single GeForce RTX GPU, but with larger memory.

If you are considering a dedicated workstation for After Effects then we recommend consumer-grade NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards thanks to their outstanding value for money. However, if you’re also planning other intensive workloads on the same workstation then it’s worth considering a professional-grade NVIDIA RTX GPU thanks to their larger memory buffer and certified drivers.

How much RAM is recommended for After Effects?

The minimum RAM that we recommend for After Effects is 32GB, upgrading to 128GB or more for 4K and higher resolution projects.

What storage does After Effects need?

We always recommend using an SSD for the boot drive that will host your OS, After Effects itself, and any active projects you are working on. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. We would also recommend a second SSD or even an NVMe SSD - depending on your budget - for active After Effects projects files. If files are large or numerous several secondary SSDs can be added in RAID configurations to protect data integrity. An alternative solution for high capacity SSD active storage or cheaper HDD archiving could be to employ an external NAS device allowing both sharing and RAID protection.

When it comes to deciding on drive capacity, this will very much depend on your number of files and the project sizes. You should also consider the space required by other applications and their associated files too.

Recommended After Effects Workstation Specifications

Workstation specifications
High-End (8K) Mid-Range (4K) Entry-Level (HD)
CPU AMD Ryzen Threadripper AMD Ryzen 9 / Intel Core i9 AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel Core i7
RAM 128GB 128GB 32GB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX NVIDIA GeForce RTX NVIDIA GeForce RTX
Storage SSD + SSD SSD + SSD SSD + HDD

The Best Workstations for After Effects

Click the link below to view the range of Pro Video systems. We offer pre-configured systems that are ready to go or can custom build a system to your preferred specification.

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